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How to Choose and Use Vitamin C Serum?

Feb. 25, 2022

Vitamin C has recently become a skincare buzzword, touted as a super ingredient that can help rejuvenate skin. But what exactly does this ingredient do, and how effective is it?

Antioxidant Power of Vitamin C Serum

There are various active forms of vitamin C, and L-ascorbic acid is the most studied and commonly used one. It is a super antioxidant that clears the skin of harmful substances. Let's analyze what this means. Various environmental stressors such as pollution, smoking, and sunlight can form reactive oxygen species in the skin. You can think of these as toxins that damage the proteins and membranes in skin cells, causing collagen to break down. As a result, the skin will have wrinkles, dark spots, red spots, and poor skin quality. Vitamin C fights all of these damages, and daily use of a vitamin C serum can help prevent these changes in the skin. In fact, studies have shown that people who use ascorbic acid have significantly less wrinkles than those who don't! (Keep in mind that this research was conducted using a freshly prepared vitamin C product, which is not the same as the vitamin C vials you've had on the shelf for months. More instructions below!)

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Other Benefits of Vitamin C Serum

In addition to its antioxidant power, vitamin C can help protect and treat the skin in many other ways. It plays a major role in collagen production, which is important but slows down with age. Vitamin C also reduces the production of melanin, or pigment, to help treat problems such as age spots or melasma. Vitamin C can also work with vitamin E to help improve the skin's ability to resist UV radiation to protect the skin from damage. Vitamin C also greatly improves and accelerates the healing process of wounds.

Choose Your Vitamin C Serum

With the complex chemistry behind this ingredient, how do you choose the right product for you? L-Ascorbic acid works best at low pH (ie, acidic environments). For the product to be most effective, the optimum content of vitamin C is about 8% or more; but more than 20% will not provide any more help, and may even cause some irritation!

How to use Vitamin C Serum

The biggest difficulty with topical vitamin C is keeping the active ingredient stable. Vitamin C is a difficult ingredient to handle and breaks down easily from the moment it dissolves in water. For best results, I recommend keeping vitamin C products in a cool place. Opaque packaging that does not transmit light helps keep molecules stable. You don't want to keep the product in the bathroom, because each shower raises the product's temperature, and you definitely don't want to store the product in a jar, because it's completely exposed to the air every time you open it. I would put it in the fridge myself! Of course, that means taking more steps in the bathroom every morning, but storing in the refrigerator can help extend the shelf life of vitamin C products. As for when to use this ingredient -- vitamin C should be used after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing and sunscreen.

Now that I've covered this antioxidant, I hope you have a better understanding of how vitamin C can benefit your skin!

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